News & Events

Order to end family separations will only change how children are traumatized

BOSTON, June 20, 2018 – Today, the President signed an executive order to address the ongoing family separation crisis on the border. Unfortunately for the thousands of people seeking asylum in the U.S., his solution is simply to incarcerate families together, indefinitely, while continuing to blame Congress and the courts for the crisis that he created.

“This executive order does not reverse the ‘zero tolerance’ policy initiated by this administration,” said MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona. “Rather, it seeks to treat persecuted families as criminals. This is a despicable act that is a debasement of American values.”

In addition to continuing to detain and criminally prosecute people seeking refuge, the Executive Order calls on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to seek a modification of the settlement reached in Flores v Reno. The “Flores settlement” dictates that U.S. Department of Homeland Security keep children in custody in the “least restrictive conditions” possible, provide basic necessities such as medical care, and separate them from adults to whom they have no relation.

“In seeking to overturn Flores, in seeking to deny basic dignity to asylum-seekers, this administration is once again dehumanizing immigrants,” Millona said. “We urge Congress to see these heinous actions for what they are and take immediate measures to truly protect children and families. They must stand up and show the world that the values of this administration do not represent the values of our great nation.”

MIRA joins Sen. Markey’s call for ban on family separations

BOSTON, June 15, 2018 – Today, we joined U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey, with several advocates, to condemn family separations and speak out in support of a Senate bill co-sponsored by him to end family separations not as part of a massive immigration “reform” bill, but by simply forbidding the practice.

The Keep Families Together Act was developed in consultation with child welfare experts and is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Children’s Law Center and the Young Center for Immigrant Rights. It has overwhelming support from Senate Democrats, but no GOP support so far.

You can watch our joint press conference here, or watch an excerpt of Senator Markey’s remarks. What follows are MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona’s remarks at the event.

Read more: MIRA joins Sen. Markey’s call for ban on family separations

A crucial victory for immigrants and civil rights in the Mass. Senate budget

A group photo in the Senate chamber after a hard-fought victory: Arline Isaacson, Joel Rivera from MIRA, Cindy Rowe from JALSA, Amy Grunder and Eva Millona from MIRA, Senators Jamie Eldridge, Sonia Chang-Diaz and Sal DiDomenico, Gavi Wolfe and Laura Rótolo of the ACLU; Aaron Agulnek of JCRC, and Eldridge comms director Peter Missouri.

BOSTON, May 23, 2018 – Last night, after a thoughtful and substantive debate, the Massachusetts Senate voted 25–13 to approve Sen. Jamie Eldridge’s amendment #1147, which adds four key protections for immigrants to the state budget for FY2019.

In particular, the amendment bars police from asking about people’s immigration status unless required by law; ends 287(g) contracts that deputize state and local law enforcement as ICE agents; requires that immigrants be notified of their due-process rights; and ensures that Massachusetts does not contribute to any registry based on religion, ethnicity, citizenship or other protected categories.

The Senate then voted 25–13 to reject an amendment that included the same provisions, but also would have authorized police to detain immigrants for ICE, undoing the gains of the Supreme Judicial Court’s Lunn v. Commonwealth decision last year.

Read more: A crucial victory for immigrants and civil rights in the Mass. Senate budget

Terminating TPS for Hondurans will uproot American families

BOSTON, May 4, 2018 – Today the Trump administration announced it will end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Hondurans, with an 18-month delay, effective January 2020. An estimated 57,000 people across the U.S., including several hundred in Massachusetts, will face deportation.

Eva A. Millona, executive director of MIRA, issued the following statement:

“The decision to end TPS for Hondurans is not surprising, given that this administration had already deemed citizens of Sudan, Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Nepal to no longer need special protection. But the fact that this fits a pattern doesn’t make it less disturbing.

“Anyone who follows the news knows that Honduras is deeply troubled, politically unstable, racked by violence, and with a struggling economy. Indeed, nobody knows better than U.S. immigration authorities, who see the desperation of asylum-seekers arriving at our southern border every day. Honduras is in no condition to take back tens of thousands of families, or to forgo the billions of dollars in remittances that U.S.-based workers send home each year. 

“Ending TPS for Hondurans will cause real pain in our communities. Honduran TPS holders have lived here for an average of 22 years and have an estimated 53,000 U.S. citizen children. These are American lives that are being destroyed.

“We urge our Congressional delegation to stand up to this administration’s hateful agenda and advance legislation to enable TPS holders to qualify for green cards. These are hard-working people with deep roots in our country. Congress needs to step in to correct this injustice and protect immigrant families.”

‘Defeating anti-immigrant amendments is not enough’

The House vote came just six days after a large demonstration by children and clergy to advocate for immigrant families.

BOSTON, April 26, 2018 – Yesterday afternoon, the Mass. House of Representatives defeated all proposed anti-immigrant amendments to the House Ways & Means budget. But the House also chose not to adopt new protections for immigrants.

Eva A. Millona, executive director of MIRA, the largest coalition in New England promoting the rights and integration of immigrants and refugees, made the following statement:

“We are relieved that the Mass. House of Representatives defeated all the anti-immigrant budget amendments that would have entangled police in civil immigration enforcement and punished cities and towns that protect immigrants.

“The strong, bipartisan roll-call vote (145 to 10) against one such proposal, Rep. Jim Lyons’ amendment #347, shows that in Massachusetts, there is no political will to enlist our police in the federal crusade against immigrants. The Supreme Judicial Court’s Lunn v. Commonwealth decision, which barred law enforcement from honoring ICE detainers, still stands.

“But defeating anti-immigrant amendments is not enough. Immigrants in our Commonwealth urgently need new legal protections. To do nothing in the face of grave injustice is unacceptable. We will continue the fight in the Senate.”